How Do People Become Infected With Hiv
HIV is in the blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk of an infected person. It can be spread by exposure to these body fluids by:
- unprotected anal or vaginal sex without a condom
- sharing drug injecting equipment
- tattooing, piercing and other procedures with unsterile needles or equipment
- transmission from mother to baby during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding
- oral sex, although this is rare
- sharps injuries
It is important to remember that HIV is not spread through activities such as kissing, sharing cups and cutlery, normal social contact, toilet seats or mosquitoes.
You are at higher risk of HIV infection if:
- you are a man, a transgender woman or a person who identifies as gender diverse who has sex with men
- you have sex or share needles with someone else at risk of HIV
- you share sex toys
- you have sex with people from countries with a high rate of HIV infection
- you inject drugs
- you have had tattoos or other piercings overseas using unsterile equipment
- you have a sexually transmitted infection . People can be infected with several different STIs at the same time. Having an STI can make it easier to become infected with HIV and pass it on to sexual partners
- you have had a blood transfusion in a country where the blood supply is not safe
Some people are at a higher risk of HIV infection because they are exposed to more people with HIV infection and/or engage in more high-risk behaviour. These include:
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No 6 Having Oral Sex: Negligible
The odds of contracting HIV during oral sex are slim to none. Thats because the virus isnt transmitted through saliva, tears, or sweat unless its also mixed with blood. If an HIV-positive man ejaculates in his partners mouth, however and, for example, the partner has an open sore or bleeding gums experts say that it might theoretically be possible to pass along the virus.
- Reduce the risk. Using a condom or dental dam can help lower the risk of transmitting not only HIV but other STDs, including syphilis, herpes, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. People can also reduce their risk by having their HIV-positive partner ejaculate into a condom or by removing their mouth from the penis before ejaculation.
How Hiv Is Transmitted
HIV is not passed on easily from one person to another. The virus does not spread through the air like cold and flu viruses.
HIV lives in the blood and in some body fluids. To get HIV, 1 of these fluids from someone with HIV has to get into your blood.
The body fluids that contain enough HIV to infect someone are:
- vaginal fluids, including menstrual blood
- breast milk
- contact with animals or insects like mosquitoes
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Treatments That Help Reduce The Risk Of Hiv Transmission
If your partner is HIV positive, talk to your doctor about whether you should start taking a medication called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. These pills, which help prevent HIV from establishing itself in the body, can reduce a persons risk of permanent infection by up to 92 percent if taken consistently, according to the CDC.
If youre HIV negative and believe you might have been exposed to the virus, you can take an emergency medication called post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, which can lower your odds of being permanently infected with HIV. In order to work as effectively as possible, the medication has to be started within 72 hours of exposure and must be taken consistently once or twice a day for 28 days.
Finally, if your partner is HIV positive, he or she can drastically reduce the odds of passing along the virus by taking antiretroviral therapy, or ART. These medications can lower the amount of HIV that resides in the body to a level thats undetectable by modern testing. An international study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in July 2016 found that none of the more than 1,000 HIV-positive people whose levels were undetectable passed the virus to their HIV-negative partners during unprotected anal or vaginal sex during an average of two years.
Oral Sex And Hiv Acquisition
Oral sex is not likely to transmit HIV under most circumstances. Many large studies have shown that a person living with HIV who takes HIV drugs and has an undetectable viral loadcannot transmit the virus to their sexual partners. This includes any kind of sex, including oral sex and sex without using condoms or barriers. This reality is known in the HIV community as Undetectable Equals Untransmittable, or U=U.
When a person living with HIV is not on treatment, oral sex is still a low-risk activity for HIV. If a person is not taking HIV drugs and/or has a detectable viral load, that low chance of transmission is greater if one of the partners has bleeding gums, mouth ulcers, gum disease, genital sores, and other sexually transmitted infections or diseases .
A number of studies have tried to figure out the exact level of HIV transmission risk that oral sex poses, but this is not easy to do. When HIV is transmitted, it is difficult to tell if oral sex or another activity that poses more risk was responsible.
The chances of HIV being passed from one person to another depend on the type of contact. HIV is most easily spread or transmitted through unprotected anal sex, unprotected vaginal sex, and sharing injection drug equipment that has not been cleaned. Unprotected sex means sex in which no condoms, other barriers, or HIV treatment-as-prevention methods are used.
For HIV transmission to be possible:
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The Risk Of Acquiring Specific Stds From One Instance Of Unprotected Sex
|0.05â0.1% or 4 per 10,000 sexual acts||Receptive sex 1.4% or 138 per 10,000|
|Insertive sex 0.06% – 0,16% or 11 per 10,000 sexual acts|
The risk of acquiring specific STDs from one instance of protected homosexual sex. 6,7
|Low-Moderate if the lesions are covered by a condom|
|High if the lesions are not covered|
|Low-Moderate if the ulcer is covered by a condom|
|High if the ulcer is not covered|
|HPV||Low-Moderate if the infective surface is covered by a condom|
|High if the infective surface is not covered|
Condoms are highly effective in protecting against HIV, gonorrhea, and chlamydia . Condoms are somewhat protective against HPV, syphilis, and herpes, which can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. If you want to practice âsafe sexâ, we do encourage you to use condoms.
Interpreting The Numberswhat Additional Information Needs To Be Provided
Some clients may see these numbers and think their risk of HIV transmission is low. Therefore, caution is needed when interpreting them. If these numbers are provided to clients, they should be accompanied by information that helps shed light on why the risk may be higher than it seems.
Transmission can occur after one exposure.
It is important to emphasize that a person could become infected from having unprotected sex once or a person could have unprotected sex many times and not become infected, regardless of how low or high the risk per exposure is.
A risk of 1% would mean that an average of one infection would occur if 100 HIV-negative people were exposed to HIV through a certain type of sex. It does not mean that a person needs to be exposed 100 times for HIV infection to occur.
These are estimates of average risk in the absence of biological factors that increase risk.
The numbers in the table above are rough estimates. They are averages and do not represent the risk from all exposures to HIV through a certain type of sex.
The risk of HIV transmission may be much higher than these averages if biological risk factors are present. For example, research shows that STIs and some vaginal conditions, such as bacterial vaginosis, can increase the risk of HIV transmission by up to 8 times.6,7,8 As a result, the risk of an HIV-negative woman becoming infected through unprotected receptive vaginal sex could be closer to 1% if she has a vaginal STI.
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Chlamydia Gonorrhea And Trichomoniasis Can Be Prevented With A Single Recommended Regimen
For chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis prevention, this approved antimicrobial drug combination is used:
A single dose of ceftriaxone plus a single dose of azithromycin plus a single dose of metronidazole OR a single dose of tinidazole .8 Ceftriaxone is used for gonorrhea prophylaxis, whereas azithromycin is effective against chlamydia. Metronidazole or tinidazole is used for trichomoniasis treatment. Metronidazole has common side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Ceftriaxone can be effective against syphilis in the incubation phase. 9
Can You Get Hiv From Having Sex With Someone Who Has Aids
If you have sex with someone who has AIDS, not HIV, can you still get HIV? Sarah*
Yes. People who have AIDS are infected with the HIV virus. This means they can pass HIV on to others.
AIDS happens after someone has had HIV for many years. In AIDS, the immune system is severely weakened. When someone gets HIV, that person can spread the infection to other people immediately. And if HIV develops into AIDS, the virus can spread to others.
HIV/AIDS spreads when infected blood or body fluids enter the body. This can happen:
- during sex
- through sharing needles for injecting drugs or tattooing
HIV/AIDS also can pass from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
To reduce your risk of getting HIV/AIDS if you are sexually active:
- Use a condom every time you have sex .
- Get tested for HIV and make sure all partners do too.
- Have fewer sexual partners.
- Get tested and treated for STDs having an STD increases the risk of HIV infection.
- Consider taking a medicine every day if you are at very high risk of getting infected .
It’s also important to:
- not inject drugs or share any kind of needle
- not share razors or other personal objects that may touch blood
- not touch anyone else’s blood from a cut or sore
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
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Contaminated Blood Transfusions And Organ/tissue Transplants
- receiving blood transfusions, blood products, or organ/tissue transplants that are contaminated with HIV. This risk is extremely small because most countries test blood products for HIV first.
If adequate safety practices are not in place, healthcare workers can also be at risk of HIV from cuts made by a needle or sharp object with infected blood on it. However, the risk of occupational exposure, is very low in most countries.
If you think you have been exposed to HIV, the only way to find out if you have HIV is to have an HIV test.
Routes Of Hiv Transmission
In Scotland, HIV is most commonly transmitted by having sex with someone who has HIV without using any form of protection, such as HIV PrEP or condoms.
A person with HIV can only pass the virus to others if they have a detectable level of virus. People living with HIV who are taking treatment and have undetectable levels of virus in their bodies canât transmit HIV to others.
Over 90% of people living with HIV in Scotland have undetectable levels of virus.
The main routes of transmission are unprotected receptive or insertive vaginal and anal sex. The risk of transmitting HIV through oral sex is extremely low.
Other ways of getting HIV include:
- sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment
- from mother to baby before or during birth when the mother isnât taking HIV medication
- from mother to baby by breastfeeding when the mother isnât taking HIV medication
- sharing sex toys with someone infected with HIV and who isnât taking HIV medication
- blood transfusion
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What Are The Early Symptoms Of The Disease
The early symptoms of the disease include â fever, sore throat, skin rashes, nausea, general body aches and pain, headaches and stomach upset etc. As the infection progresses, the disease further weakens the immune system of the individuals and they undergo weight loss and can have diarrhoea and swollen lymph nodes. This makes early detection and treatment extremely important for HIV patients.
Ways of Transmission
- Transmission through blood: reusing syringes contaminated with HIV infected samples is a very potent cause of transmission
- Sexual transmission: unprotected sexual activities with multiple people and exposure of a person to sexual fluids during physical intimacy
- Perinatal transmission: during pregnancy, childbirth and even breastfeeding, a mother can transmit the infection to her child
Tips for Prevention
- Contact with body fluids: by reducing the risk of exposure to contaminated blood, HIV can be prevented. It is as easy as washing that part of the skin thoroughly that u think might have come in contact with contaminated blood/ fluids.
- Do not share any intravenous drugs : Sharing needles exposed to HIV and other infections can not only cause HIV AIDS but also conditions like hepatitis C.
- Unprotected sex exposes a person to the risk of contracting STDâs
Ways Hiv Cannot Be Spread
HIV is not spread by:
- Air or water
- Mosquitoes, ticks or other insects
- Saliva, tears, or sweat that is not mixed with the blood of a person with HIV
- Shaking hands hugging sharing toilets sharing dishes, silverware, or drinking glasses or engaging in closed-mouth or social kissing with a person with HIV
- Drinking fountains
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What Is A False Positive Test Result
A false positive test is when the test result shows positive but the person is negative.
This can happen with antibody tests when the test picks up antibodies for other infections.
Approximately 15 out of every 1000 antibody tests are a false positive .
The fourth generation tests have a much lower chance of a false positive. This is why you should always have a second confirmatory test if the result is positive.
The test used to confirm a positive result is 100% accurate. If the second test does not confirm you are positive then you do not have HIV.
Does This Symptom Related To Hiv
Most people worried about a recent infection mistake common symptoms of other illnesses with HIV. Stress and worry can cause and contribute to these symptoms. Information about .
If you have any symptoms that are worrying you, then seek medical advice from a doctor or other health care worker. The people working at i-Base are not doctors. We cannot diagnose HIV or any other illness.
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Where To Get Tested For Hiv
Getting an HIV test is easy. Tests for HIV and other STIs are confidential and available from your local doctor , or a sexual and reproductive health clinic.
It is a good idea to have some pre-test counselling. Before the test, talk with your doctor, nurse, or peer tester about any concerns, your level of risk, whether you are likely to be HIV-positive and what a positive result may mean.
How Are Results Given
Your test centre should clearly explain the results of your test.
If you have questions that we not explained, or that still worry you, go back to ask that centre again.
Results are generally given as:
- Negative / non-reactive = HIV-negative = You do not have HIV
- Positive / reactive = HIV-positive = You have HIV infection
- Indeterminate = the test results was unclear and will be checked with another test
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How Do People Get Hiv
Most young children who have HIV got it before they were born or shortly after birth.
Older people can get HIV through:
- sharing needles for injecting drugs or tattooing
- getting stuck with a needle with an infected persons blood on it
HIV is NOT spread through:
- pee, poop, spit, throw-up, or sweat
- coughing or sneezing
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Can Herbal Medicine Cure Hiv
No. Some people choose to take alternative forms of medicine, such as herbal medicines, as a natural way of treating HIV. However, herbal remedies do not work.
Taking herbal medicines can be dangerous as they will not protect your immune system from infection. They may also interact poorly with antiretrovirals if you are taking them alongside treatment. The only way you can stay healthy when living with HIV is to take antiretroviral treatment as prescribed by your doctor or healthcare professional, and to attend viral load monitoring appointments to make sure your treatment is working.
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Whats The Difference Between Hiv And Aids
There is often a lot of confusion over the difference between HIV and AIDS. People often use the terms interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. People who have AIDS are HIV positive, but not everyone who has HIV has AIDS. AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. It is the final stage of HIV infection, after it has progressed for many years. Rather than being a separate disease, AIDS is when a person can no longer fight off infections. If a persons CD4 count is below 200, they receive an AIDS diagnosis.
Ways You Can Not Catch Hiv
The following list includes examples or questions we get from people worried about catching HIV.
The information above should have clear enough these are not risks. Similar questions will not be answered in the Q& A pages but may just be added to this list below.
You can NOT catch HIV from:
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